How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan

How To Buy a Used Motorhome Campervan 101.1 – M.O.T. History and PROOF of Mileage

Online Offgrid - 101.1 - Gov_UK website to determine MOT STATUS of Vehicle

How to buy a Used Camper / Motorhome

101.1 M.O.T. History
and Proof of Mileage

3 essential checks to do before even viewing your dream motorhome / camper van!

Don’t travel the lengths and breadths of the country to view that rare find, before you know the condition and structural integrity of the vehicle… only to find that it has FAILED vital safety checks during its M.O.T. History.

Now you can use this 3 easy step-by-step video guide to determine all the vehicles M.O.T. repair history and whether the mileage is genuine… BEFORE you go to view what looks like your dream motorhome or campervan from a few carefully taken photos on social media or sales websites. It is well worth it.

We travelled 5 hours from Wales to Cornwall only to discover we had not done our due diligence on the vehicle docs! In fact we were so tired from the whole day that we even stayed over a night and travelled back the next day.

Save yourself days by spending just 14 minutes watching this video!

Also,once we had done the research to create this video, we dug further and found other essential things we wished we had also done. Please do view 101.2 and 101.3 in the “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan – 101” video series that are included in our 20+ video series on “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan”!

Click the links below:

How to buy a Used Motorhome 101.2 – Checking Vehicle Identification & Service History – Is It LEGAL! >

How To Buy USED Motorhome 101.3 – Is it STOLEN, FINANCED, WRITTEN OFF Check BEFORE going to view it >

See you soon…

Miles & Tamra

Online Offgrid

Here’s our dialogue from the video . . .

How To Buy a USED Motorhome-Campervan 101.1 – MOT History Checks

Hi and welcome to the “How to Buy a USED Motorhome or Campervan 101” video series!

We’re going to share with you some of the essentials that you can do to avoid making the mistakes that we made, that cost us 5,000 pounds over the cost of the motorhome and counting…

So, we’re going to show you step by step how you can know more about your motorhome or camper van… before even going to view it and without the seller even knowing!

And you know the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know…”?

We’re going to show you what you can know without the seller knowing what you know.

So let’s get started!

There are some great checks you can do which are all online, so you can do it before you even go and view the vehicle and can determine even if it’s worth looking at never mind… purchasing.

So first of all, if you go to a browser, (while online), and check out the website that’s coming on-screen now which is the other check the MOT status of a vehicle (at, it’s a fantastic facility that’s the government DVLA website that tells you everything you need to know and they are obligated to do so and all the MOT testers are required by law to submit the information after testing the vehicle to the database.

So everything you need to know from a certain point (a certain year…), obviously they didn’t use to always do MOT’s electronically, but from a certain point, for many many years now, you’ll better check back to the history of a vehicle.

1: MOT Status – Online Check

First of all check to type that in, ( and you’ll see this screen here… which is the start now screen, click the green start now button, enter the registration number of the vehicle, (so if you know the vehicle registration of the vehicle then pop that in here)… if by any chance you have found that the images that you’ve looked at online have been a number plate obscured… it is a bit of a scary thing to consider…

“Why have they obscured the number plate?” It may be for legitimate reasons of securing the identity of the vehicle and therefore the location identity of themselves… so if that is the case then great, phone them up (phone that seller up) and say, “Look I’m really interested in your vehicle I want to do some research and back background checks on the vehicle… Can you please tell me the registration number?” And then you can type that number it into this window, click continue, and you’ll then be taken to the next screen.

It’ll just do a double check with you that this is the vehicle you are searching for… so it’ll display the registration number you’ve typed in, and it should then match the make and color of the vehicle. If it does match it then select the yes button and then click the green continue button.

Once you do that you’ll be taken through to a detail screen and that will give you the overall overview of the vehicle… is it taxed, and it is MOT’d. So that’s the other thing you can find out is… how how long is the tax going to last? As you know even with the pictures… that the vehicles don’t require a tax disk in the window so you can’t even zoom in and find out. So here it’ll tell you whether it’s been taxed and when that expires and if the MOT is actually still active and when that expires!

Plus, you get to see some of the more general details about the vehicle to make sure it is the one that is being advertised.

2: MOT History – Online Check

Then, on the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a list of links… and in the second batch of links where it says DVSA services, you’ll see “Check the MOT history”… so if you click that or just go directly to the address I’m putting on the screen now, which is the check MOT history address at the same website (, then you’ll be taken to another page where you will have to enter the vehicle registration details in again, and click the green continue button. Now that will then take you to a much more comprehensive listing of each of the MOTs histories every single test it’s taken for a considerable number of years.

And as you’ll see from here it is a history that goes as far back as 2005, so it’s a good sort of 14 or 15 years worth of information, and you should by then know what’s exactly wrong with the vehicle.

So let’s now look at the actual rap sheet… the history here of the MOT.

You’ll see the way it has passes… and you’ll see where has fails.

Fails are noted in bright red letters, and the interesting thing to note here is is how far apart are the fails and the passes?

So for instance… when I show you this window here… you’ll see that the “Fail” which was on the 20th of June… it didn’t then “Pass” until the 19th of July. And what you’ve got to assess is, by looking at the amount of work that was done, did it warrant that much time being taken in between? Or was it a case of just couldn’t get it booked in…

And as you can see from this list there were a vast array of things that needed fixing, probably somewhat expensive that needed to be done before it would pass again… So there’s an example there of a full listing here of things it’s failed on.

And it’s a good opportunity to check just how severe those things are… things like registration plate lamp, just minor things… just old connections got rusty… and they can just be cleaned off and repaired.

It’s when you start to see things like upper brake hose excessively damaged… well some of the brake hoses are metal not necessarily rubber, so that’s something that is absolutely fatal in terms of brake failing! And as mentioned before, one of the things we didn’t check was precisely that… and within 300 miles of buying a vehicle our brakes failed on us. And it was nearly fatal!

So here you’ll see other things which also are considerable fails… else offside front suspension component mounting prescribed area excessively corroded significantly reducing structural strength, and we will see that’s on the offside front suspension and near side suspension and offside front suspension another mounting again is significantly corroded. So these are big issues we’re regarding the strength of this chassis and all the components attached to it.

So you ought to find out from the paperwork now that’s provided in terms of servicings and any repares done what was done to repair issues like that.

Now, as you’ll see from the next testings… you’re just going further back and further back, now there’s another “Fail.” So it passed on the 29th of April, it was the 30th of March when it failed and it didn’t pass again. And again you’ll see, another list of things it’s failed on… it’s smaller however what I would suggest is that you just check to see if there are any repeat failing items that are a good year apart. And as you see here, rear brake hose ferrule excessively corroded… so you’ve got more brake hoses and brake brake issues here that need to be considered and checked severely when you go on to see the vehicle to check that they are repaired and also they’re no longer corroded.

But again, you know that they’ve been done… they have passed though these things would never get through a MOT unless they had been repaired. Another example here going further back down to 2015 so you’ve got a 17th of March fail, and then it was a 31 of March by the time it was booked in again and repaired for those things… and again what’s happened here is, written… brake hose has slight corrosion. So again we’re going back in time here, you’ll see that these things are starting to get slight corrosion.

Now you’ll see that there are things that are reasons for failure and things that are advisory notices. In other words they won’t fail it but they are being brought up as things you should know about… that’s their legal requirement to let you know.

So again, what are you looking for in terms of things like… “bearings have slight play,” that happens, and that can be all tightened up. And… front disc brake discs worn on a vehicle, in these old dates, that is going to happen and that’s fine. Just check what’s being done and repaired, ready for the next MOT test.

And then, what you want to see really… is a long stream of “Passes!”

So as you see here, year after year around about the same month, it’s actually passed its its MOTs and you can then get a little bit more confidence! And naturally, the older the vehicle is it’s going to start to show fails…

3: Yearly Mileage – Online Check
Now, one of the really important things to look out for in terms of the validity of mileage and things like that of the vehicle!

So if we look at the oldest date here, now you’ll see that the last recorded electronic MOT test here is 17th of May 2005, and the vehicle was driven 26,853 miles. So as you go up through the ages… you can now see how many miles were driven every year on the vehicle.

And the reason why we’re doing this is that it may well say it’s got 40 or 50 or 60,000 miles on the clock… but what’s really useful is to know how much was it used (driven) each year? Was there an extended period of time where it was stood doing nothing for a long time… and could that also reflect in when the vehicles MOT fail (happened or) comes up on the screen as well?

So you’ve got 30,000 miles in August 2006, and in August 2007 it has 30,244 miles, so in a year this vehicle has barely done 150 miles…

Now going into the next batch which is 2008, the same time it’s done 32,749 miles… so it’s only been driven around about 500 miles in that year.

Then as we go back up into the years, so 2009 it’s done 34 34,000 so again, it’s not done many miles, if you look at the comparison there it’s done around about 1,500 miles.

Now in 2010, a year later, it’s done 35,829… so again I run another say 1500 miles.

The next year, in 2011, it’s up to 36,447 miles, that’s done just under thousand miles that year (it’s roundabout 600 miles driven that year).

Now the next year, in 2012, it’s done 37,861 miles… so it’s only done about 1,400 miles that year.

So you get the picture… you’re looking at how many miles is actually doing every year, because that’s imperative when you start to establish how long it’s been standing.

So let’s now quickly look four times it’s been stood for a long long long long time… so here it’s done 40,000 miles in 2014, in 2015 it’s only done 600 or 700 miles… its then failed this MOT and then passed again. In 2016, it’s only has 40,969, which is almost no mileage at all… and then the next it failed again, which it does make sense in terms of what it has failed on… The next year 2017 it has done only, crikey, it’s only done 40 or 50 mile… sorry, maybe 100 miles in that whole year. And then looking at the later years, in 2018 it failed as we can see, and it’s only done 41,000 miles there… and as we look at the last one in 19th of July which is another month after that it’s only done 41,000 miles.

So over that whole four year period it’s only done a couple of thousand miles… which is great when you’re looking for a low mileage vehicle! That said, these these are old vans… and they’re metal like anything else and it will corrode…

And if it’s been in England and in certain wet periods and it’s been sat in the damp or winter periods of the year… it’s going to corrode and not being used doesn’t help the vehicle. Now I’m not talking just about the van itself, but as a Motorhome the home and Caravan area is going to suffer when those items are not being used… the gas items, the electrical items… the electrical checks… and all those sorts of things that you want to be doing all these things have been sat doing nothing for a long time and not being cleaned, and not being maintained, potentially…

So these are things to look out for! Now, onto another example here of something that is a scary ”Fail” of a completely different vehicle, something to definitely question the seller about and it’s a potential value change in the sale price, so let’s look at that one.

You can see a an August 2015 MOT and the vehicles 110,000 miles… that’s a lot of mileage for a motorhome, definitely… but the good thing is that it’s actually done a fair bit of mileage.

Here you want to look at things like… here we see the offside front outer body or chassis has excessive corrosion seriously affecting its strength within 30 centimeters of the body mountings step. Now that’s something really to be considered as part of the value of the vehicle and just how dangerous it is, because when they start putting it within a certain distance of a critical point in the vehicle, you want to make sure that that has then been taken care of… that it’s been either welded or it’s been fortified in some way and then passing the MOT. And hopefully in the following years if this is 2015 that by 2018 you’re not seeing that come up again.

If we look at the next one, you’ll see in October of 2018, three years later that again you’ve got some offside front suspension and areas of corrosion which are considered to bridge significantly reducing the structural strength of the what’s called the outrigger. So again, if you don’t know what that is, then maybe just get someone to check with you… an expert to find out how close is that to the other areas of excessive corrosion and what does it give you as a picture of the vehicle?

Once again though, look this has done 110,000 miles in 2015, and 119,000 miles by 2018 so it’s done 9 thousand miles in those three years… which is on average three thousand a year which is is okay… but again for a vehicle that’s only doing three thousand miles a year it’s been stood for most of the year, probably used in the warmer months of the year, it’s not more like it being stood doing nothing in the winter months and that’s when a corrosion hits.

So there’s a couple of screen shots… if you go to the MOT status you can get the rundown as we saw… and then if you go to the MOT history it gives you a very very detailed list of all the MOTs it has had that’s been recorded in the MOT status and history section of the government DVLA website.

So their you go… really good things to check! And what you want to do now is look at your service history that comes with a vehicle and all the receipts for any works and repairs done during those processes but during those services all in between to look out for things that haven’t been done properly, have been done more recently, and were part of the MOT passing process.

CHECK OUT our next video in the series…

Is the vehicle you have your eye on legal, really owned by the seller AND is the Service History genuine?

How to buy a Used Motorhome 101.2 – Checking Vehicle Identification & Service History – Is It LEGAL! – Online Offgrid

See you later,
Miles and Tamra
Online Offgrid


How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan

How To Buy a Used Motorhome Campervan 101.2 – Checking VIN and Service History – Is it LEGAL!

Online Offgrid - How to buy a campervan 101_2

How to buy a Used Camper / Motorhome

Checking Vehicle Identification & Service History – Is It LEGAL!

Ever wondered if the Service History is FULL or FONY? It PAYS to check it out.

We didn’t and we bought our first ever motorhome TO LIVE IN and MOVE INTO within a week of buying. It cost us nearly £5K to get it up to the standard the seller “promised” it was in. How naive were we???

We know we made some rather silly mistakes. And this time was no different… leading with the heart, not the head for this one. We just loved it as it “appeared” to be so much we didn’t dig enough and follow due diligence

Miles: “I can hear my Dad saying that now, from the grave!”

So… here is the next in the essential 101 series. 101.2 – How to check that the vehicle documentation is GENUINE and LEGAL, AND if the Service History is FULL or FONY!

Hope you have a smoother buying process for your Used Motorhome / Campervan! In fact, I can be pretty certain that if you follow this guide, you will be lowering the risk significantly. Whether it is for a casual ‘few times a year holiday home on the move’ motorhome or campervan, they cost way more than you think, and you connect and bond with them more than you think you would.

Also, while doing this research for you, it dawned on us that there was one more vital check to do. This will make sure you can keep it (on the road OR off it) once you buy it and the seller has walked off with your cash!

Please do view our 101.3 in the “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan – 101” video series that are included in our 20+ video series on “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan”:

101.3 – by OnlineOffgrid – CHECK if the vehicle has been STOLEN, Owned by a Finance Company, CRASHED or WRITTEN-OFF – BEFORE you go to view it

See you soon…

Miles & Tamra

Online Offgrid

Here’s our dialogue from the video . . .

How To Buy a USED Motorhome-Campervan 101.2 – VIN & Service History Checks

Tamra: Following on from 101.1 where we talked about… what… what did you talk about? (LOL)

Miles: Okay, so 101.1 was about how you can check online before even going to view the vehicle of your dreams… certain aspects of things that failed on the MOT.

There’s all sorts of history things you need to check before you even go… so this is on to 101.2 where we now talk about some of the vehicle documentation that you can start…

Tamra: Wait! Don’t tell them what we’re going to say… “Just watch the video!” 🙂

1: Log Book (V5C) – FORGERY Test
Miles: Things to check on the v5c logbook documentation is, as you see in this picture, you’ve got a number of pages to this and the first thing to do is to make sure this document (the V5C logbook) is actually legal.

Yes… just like bank notes, people tend to forge these and then change the identification numbers like the VIN number on the vehicle to match the documents and you think you’ve got yourself a legal vehicle. It’s not always the case, so the tell-tale signs are to hold up the opened out document to the light and you’ll see there is a watermark that says DVL in capital letters on every single page.

Make sure that’s present on every single page… and then, in the first inside page you will see in the top right-hand circle, under the V5C(W) in brackets, there is a number and it’s usually preceded by the letter “B”. What you’re looking for here is to make sure it is a “B”… and that the numbers after that either have a “G” like “BG8…” or “BG9…” and there are seven digits after it…

Or it could be “B123…” or “B128…” (or similar) and again there are the same number of digits so in this case there are 8 numbers that go with the letter “B” so that just means that it is a legitimate serial number that’s been provided by the DVLA as well.

The next thing to check on there is the address… so the address of the registered keeper will be in this second inside page, in the green section, and one thing to note about the registered keeper is that the registered keeper is not necessarily the owner. So, if you can get hold of the sellers driving license or something that proves their address, to make sure their name and their address matches what is on the registered keeper area of this document… then at least you know you’re talking to both the owner and the registered keeper. If it doesn’t match, then find out who the actual owner is because that person is the only person who can consent to the sale, not the registered keeper.

So you go, those are sort of things to look out for on the V5C and you’ll see also in certain cases the mileage of the vehicle at last time of purchase and it will also tell you how many owners the vehicle has had since it was registered originally at its own vehicles birthdate.

So take a look at those and how many owners that has because that can sometimes have a reflection on the value of the vehicle as well.

2: VIN Number – Validity Check
If you don’t know where a VIN number is on a vehicle then the easiest place to check is Google!

Pop into the Google, in the search window… search for “VIN number on a Ford Transit,” click return and what you’ll see is a typical list in the results.

What I tend to do is pop to the images link… so in the image to link near the top, click that… and then just look for something that resembles a plaque or a plate with numbers on it.

Here you can see a few examples here and you can see also that they’re actually part of a Ford Transit Forum in this particular case which is really useful. So if you click on that link one of those links to the Ford Transit Forum it’ll pop open.

And the great thing about Ford Transit forum or any forum that has to do with any particular vehicle is people that are on there who are usually experts, or have experience and just want to help!

So what you can see is an enlarged image of a VIN number that’s stamped here that she looks like it’s somewhere in the engine bay… here it’s on the window… and here is one that’s somewhere else in the vehicle…

If you read some of the captions it says here, “Ignore the plate under the bonnet” and also a good point here is to “Ignore the one that’s on the engine, that’s an engine ID number not a vehicle identification number… the VIN.”

So we’re looking for here, as it says here, is the chassis number which is also the VIN number, on the plate here on the dash, and inside the passenger door for the Ford Transit. (It will be in different places for different vehicles and you’ll find that out as you search.)

Now, what you’re looking for is the long digit number here, which starts “WFO” that long digit number there is what you want to check is the same if there is an etching on the windscreen… if there is a plaque that’s on the dashboard somewhere… and make sure that all three of those match the number, the VIN number, that is printed on the V5C document. That’s the most essential thing to make sure that vehicle is a genuine, once you have determined that the log book itself is genuine too, from what we said before.

Now sure how to check the M.O.T. Status & History online?
Check out: How to Buy a USED Camper / Motorhome 101.1

If you haven’t managed to identify where the VIN number is by the time you go to visit the vehicle… then what you can do is get the maintenance documents that come with a vehicle and in there you’ll see in the index, (I’m showing here) that they’re the pages where it is on the Fiat Ducato. And you’ll see it tells you where the the vehicle identification number labels are positioned in the vehicle.

3: Service History – FULL or FONY?
Now… onto the vehicles servicing history. Every vehicle should come with a history stamps or a list of receipts that have been provided by the dealerships or servicing locations. In this case you’re seeing an image here that is either going to be in the service book that comes in the pack (where the manual is and other information regarding the vehicle), or it could be in the aftercare pamphlet which is where I found the vehicle servicing history for this mobile home.

Now, in that pamphlet, you’ll see there are pages where all the stamps provide you with the dates that the servicing was carried out, the mileage of the vehicle at that time, very mineral information as to what has been done, and the address and stamp and hopefully a signature of the dealership or authorized repair center that did the servicing.

First of all you’ll see whether the engine oil has been changed as well, that’s an important one, it doesn’t have to happen every single servicing… it’s all due to the number of mileage allowance that you have for that a particular oil fill.

And one of the key things you’re looking for here is when was the cam belt changed?

Because the cam belt is one of those items on a vehicle that should it fail, it can be catastrophic and completely ruin the engine, it’s a complete engine change in many cases… so you wanna make sure that’s being changed. A cam belt has a life from 40,000 and up to 60,000 miles… or four to ten years.

Now that’s a very wide range depending on the vehicle, and the cam belt is fitted to those vehicles so it’s a very wide range so it’s very much worth checking your manual that comes with the vehicle or with a service center or dealership that deals with this particular model and asking them what the life of that cam belt is.

It’s just too important and it is not one or the other… it’s when the first one happens. So if it’s only done 10,000 miles but it’s been 10 or 12 years, and that’s the life of that belt, then it really is essential that it gets changed.

In this case, as you’ll see on this servicing on the fourth of January 2016, at the mileage of 40,950, it says cam belt kit and oil change as well… and you can see the name of the test center that did it.

Now if you are not absolutely convinced that this has been done… or that any of these stamps are not looking completely genuine, then don’t be afraid to get your phone out and call that test center… call that garage… phone them up, tell them your vehicle registration and the mileage at the time, and what they have listed as being done.

The other way to check this is that what the a seller should have is accompanying documentation… all the receipts and listings of all work done at every service point, (just as due diligence), and it’ll tell you comprehensibly what’s been done and the date that is has been done… and it should match with the name of the center that did it, the stamps in your book if it has stamps in a book here, if it doesn’t you are relying only on that paperwork.

If they don’t have it… then you don’t believe anybody, seller or any only anybody else, as to what’s been changed, when servicing were done… it’s going to be have to be considered as a reduction in the value of the sale offer that the seller has given you.

And if the cambelt has not been done, or is getting very very close to needing to be done… I would consider talking to the seller about how that (being somewhere in the region of between 2 and 4 hundred pounds worth of servicing to change a cambelt) is something that could be considered to come off the price of the vehicle, so that you have a vehicle you can walk away with and now it’s got a life certainly for the your ownership.

Cambelt CHANGE can cost from £300!!… depending on the Make & Model

Make a NEW offer to the seller to reflect the EXTRA cost to YOU!

That is the vehicles servicing history stamp book and any documentation that goes with it.

All of its absolutely essential and a big part of the value of the vehicle at the time of sale!

Check out the final step in this 101 series…
Is the vehicle STOLEN or FINANCED?
Click here:

See you soon…
Miles and Tamra
Online Offgrid

How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan

How To Buy a Used Motorhome Campervan 101.3 – Is it STOLEN, FINANCED, WRITTEN OFF? Check BEFORE going to view it.

Online Offgrid - How to buy a campervan 101_3

How to buy a Used Camper / Motorhome

Is it STOLEN, FINANCED, WRITTEN OFF Check BEFORE going to view it

Another and the FINAL ESSENTIAL Check BEFORE you go and VIEW your potential dream motorhome or campervan, and DEFINITELY BEFORE you lay out a £FIVE FIGURE SUM…

Here is one QUICK final check you can do online that will save you buying a NO DEAL vehicle and, because there are so few vehicles that meet your criteria, you can save traveling a long distance and fuel just to view it TOO!

When I say “NO DEAL”, I really mean it

If you do buy a vehicle, and let’s not forget, not for a few small acorns, then you can’t take chances of believing the seller’s every word. And I am not suggesting that particular person is not trustworthy. You just don’t know what you don’t know until it’s too late. If you are anything like us, you will be spending most of your savings on your dream motorhome or campervan. It will pay dividends to do this check so that you can be sure you know what the seller does not know you know.

PLUS – if you go armed with some of the knowledge you will get from following the steps in this video, How To Buy A Used Motorhome or Campervan 101.3, you will have yourself a very valuable bargaining chip to bring the price down… IF you will want it

This is also a tool you can use multiple times to save you even more should you decide to view more than one used motorhome or campervan!

If you missed them, there are 3 ESSENTIAL videos in the “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan – 101” video series that are included in our 20+ video series on “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan”: Click on the links below to view them:

How to buy a Used Motorhome or Campervan – 101.1 M.O.T. History and Proof of Mileage >

How to buy a Used Motorhome 101.2 – Checking Vehicle Identification & Service History – Is It LEGAL! >

See you soon…

Miles & Tamra

Online Offgrid

Here’s our dialogue from the video . . .

How To Buy a USED Motorhome-Campervan 101.3 – Is it STOLEN, FINANCED, WRITTEN OFF? Check BEFORE going to view it!


Hi and welcome to how to buy a used motorhome or camper van 101.3!

Now if you’ve seen the other two videos, (101.1 and 101.2) and now you’re happy that everything seems present and correct… the price seems about right… and you’re completely thrilled you love it, you want to go buy it right now! It’s your perfect dream home (or camper van)… hold your horses!


Just because it seems to tick all the boxes, and it may not be on the market very long… it may make you want to go and snatch at it.

Now there is one more check to do, and the reason it comes last, is because before you travel (4 hours or something like that… we traveled, one way, yes) to go see our dream home… to find out what we found out… that cost us a fortune… you can do a check for less than ten quid that will make all this worthwhile!

Check this out!

Once you’re happy that the MOT information and the service history all match up and look good, and you’re happy to proceed with looking into other areas… the next thing to make sure of, is that the vehicle has not been written off or be involved in any incident that would declare it less than Road worthy (that MOT’s wouldn’t necessarily know about because remember an MOT is only valid for the day of that test, it means it’s Road worthy that day… it doesn’t mean that subsequently something could happen that makes it non Road worthy).

There’s a way to check whether its first of all, been in some sort of incident that could have damaged any part of the vehicle, and secondly can tell you whether it’s been stolen, and thirdly it can also tell you whether there is some finance outstanding on the vehicle…

Because the last thing that can happen… and is has happened to others in the past… is that if you buy a vehicle from someone, you pay cash, and then it still has finance on the vehicle… that vehicle is still owned by the finance company, they can take it off you and you can do nothing about it but chase the police to get hold of the person who sold it to you.

But, one of the great things you can do is you can check it online.

So if you go to Google again… and just check what’s called an “HPI check.” And what you’ll see is a number of different results come up… and the one I have used in the past and one that certainly some of the bigger insurance websites use is “”

Which is the address I’m just going to put up on the screen for you here.

if you go through to that website you’ll see them what you do is you throw in the registration of your vehicle, click go, and then what it will do is will give you some options. You’ll see it has a multi-check where if you’re looking to view a couple of Motor home’s for a cheaper price than doing it once each time… is that you can buy just the basic checks at £19.99 or £9.99, and that’s a very basic check as you’ll see from the screen here… all the things that they don’t do… so they don’t check it was being cloned as a vehicle, and parts of the vehicle being used and from other vehicles have been used in this one… it doesn’t do any mileage discrepancy checks, MOT history does a bit of a check for you as well… and there’s also a 30,000 pound guarantee on the check which isn’t covered in the basic check too.

So that’s what you get for you $9.99 but it does cover some of the key things and having followed the checks on the MOT history and the servicing checks that I’ve already showed you… you have covered a lot of the basis here.

But if you feel it a bit more inclined to check further then why not go for either $19.99 for one check or put three in the bag for you so you can come back and use it the other two remaining, if you want to look at other vehicles too… and this will give you a much more comprehensive list of items that you need to know about, regarding the vehicles validity, its insurance status, its finance status, and whether it’s being written off.

Now when it comes to write-offs, you’ll probably not know the different categories that are set up for write-offs… it can be “A” or “B” or “C” or “D” and further… and you’d only look anything that’s beyond a “C” or “D”…

But if you do see that it has been written off, and then it has a category of “C” or “D” it means that there wasn’t bad enough to not be able to be brought back to a roadworthy status. In many cases it’s because that price to repair the vehicle was greater than the value of the vehicle itself… it didn’t mean that it couldn’t be repaired.

Now it’s important at this point to note that there is a new update to insurance write-off categories and what they mean… now before going to those are it is also prudent to tell you that I’m NOT a professional. I’m NOT an insurance expert, NOT even in the legal world… but this is simply information I’ve gathered that I could inform you of so you can make your own informed decision.

So the new update to the insurance write-off categories are such that up to 1st October 2017 there were four categories of insurance write-offs, which were comprising of “A” category, “B” category, “C” category, and “D” category.

Now the categorization was reviewed recently, such that the salvage codes had been updated to emphasize more on structural issues that affect safety of the vehicle.

Now the categories have changed such that they are now “A” and “B” and “S” and “N” categories.

Category “A” is the same as it always has been, it’s for scrap only… in other words these are cars that are so badly damaged they should be crushed and never reappear on the road… even salvageable parts from that vehicle must be destroyed and cannot be reused.

Category “B” is also unchanged, and the body shell should be crushed… it signifies that there has been extensive damage although some parts are salvageable. She should still never reappear on the road as that vehicle as a whole… although the parts from it can be used again elsewhere in other vehicles, for whatever purpose.

The category “S” (which used to be category “C”) means that the vehicle has suffered structural damage… this could include a bent or twisted chassis, and it could be a crumple zone that’s collapsed in a crash, but seriously compromising the the safety of that vehicle. It means the damage is more than just cosmetic therefore and the vehicle will have to have been professionally repaired, and is deemed not safe to drive until passing rigorous tests.

The category “N” (which used to be category “D”) is categorized for vehicles that haven’t sustained structural damage… so the issue may be cosmetic, or a problem with the electrics that just isn’t economical to repair. Now it’s probably advisable, although I CAN’T do that legally, not to assume that vehicles are drivable. So when you’re viewing this vehicle just don’t necessarily assume this just is drivable just because it has been categorized as “D.” Now non structural faults may include the brakes or steering or other safety related parts… so that said… the point being is, if it is deemed Road (worthy this is assuming that it has been repaired professionally), where you now have a bargaining chip with the seller… as it will always carry this category and for the lifetime of this vehicle on the road, and therefore it’ll affect the price when you come to sell it to.

So if it is a category “C” or “D” and you have all the information as to why that’s been written off, you now have a great bargaining chip with the seller… so you can say, “Well it’s category ‘C’ or ‘D’ and it’s going to be difficult to sell again there are things that I have to take care of potentially to maintain those issues that occurred at that incident, that wrote it off and there the seller may then give you a reduction in the price.

What they’re probably not going to do… is tell you from the outset that it was a write-off even though it is now categorized as roadworthy.

NOTE: Neither myself nor Tamra are experts in insurance knowledge or practices, nor are we legally qualified. All information has been gathered while researching. Please seek legal advise where necessary when you are unsure!

If you missed out on the other two videos in the “How to Buy a USED Motorhome Campervan 101” series… you can now get them by clicking on the links here:

How to Buy a USED Camper Motorhome 101.1 – M.O.T. & Mileage… which is the three essential checks to do online before you go and view the vehicle with MOT history checks and mileage

…and How to Buy a USED Camper Motorhome 101.2 – Log Book & Service History… and these are the three essential legal checks to do before you go and buy and that’s the logbook vehicle identification number and service history validity checks.

Check them out now!

See you soon…
Miles and Tamra
Online Offgrid


How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan

How To Buy a Used Motorhome Campervan – 1 Wheels & Tyres

OnlineOffgrid - How To Buy Used Motrhome Campervan - Wheels and Tyres (Tires) Check

How to buy a Used Camper / Motorhome

1 – Wheels & Tyres

Pitfalls to look out for… when buying a Used Campervan…

We did not want others to go suffer the same torment we suffered when buying a USED Motorhome/Camper.

Having suffered the painful cost of our naivety when buying a used motorhome… and NOT just big financial losses (EXTRA £4000!!!) and temporary loss of use of the motorhome, ALSO the stress and heartache that comes with it, we knew we could help others to save money and anguish.

(When we say ‘naive’, maybe we have all done it at some time or other. We believed the seller that everything worked and was in good order. Ooops!)

And so, onto our very first How-To guide:
How To Buy a Used Motorhome Campervan – 1 Wheels & Tyres – Online Offgrid

Here are some essential tips on what to look for. When a tyre looks like it has good tread on it, one might think that it is “OK and good-to-go”. If you are buying a secondhand (or even tenthhand) motorhome, this is NOT the case… simply because a car is usually used fairly often. Not the same with a motorhome which averages 1,000-2000 miles per yer.

This simple know-how to determine whether your tyres are “border-line” or simply DANGEROUS!

Feel free to check out our YouTube channel for more How-To Videos…

See you soon…

Miles & Tamra

Online Offgrid

Here’s our dialogue from the video . . .

How To Buy a Used Motorhome Campervan – 1 Wheels & Tyres

Another real classic thing with a slightly older motorhome is the wheels and tyres. Because just the vehicle has probably done a low mileage doesn’t mean that everything’s gonna be in great condition… and in many cases it’s the other way around.

So tyres are obviously rubber! Rubber parishes over time and they even come with a birthdate and an expiry date of when they should have been fitted.

Every time you get a new tyre fit it is well worth also checking with your tyre supplier, how how new the tyre is because it could’ve been setting the shelf for years.

When it’s on the vehicle and the vehicle has been sat for… maybe nine months of the year… if it does only two or three thousand miles a year? Ut’s not getting a lot of a lot of use.

And a lot of the weight will be in one point of the tyre which again isn’t great for the tyres since the tyres themselves are rubber…

But also they’re usually radials which means there are steel cables inside, and do you know what metal does? It bends. And it doesn’t necessarily go back to its original shape.

So, there are a couple of points here to note. First of all, what’s the tread like? And, just because the tread is good, by the way, doesn’t mean it’s a great tire because the age is the most
important thing.

But the limits selling in the UK are 1.6 millimeters over three-quarters of the central area of the tyre, and one point six millimeters isn’t actually a lot…

But what you want to do is buy a van that you know is going to last you at least a season or two.

So, just check the tread, which is the depth of the surface of the tyre… you’ll see all the ridges, all the crevices there in the tyre so it’s from the base of that that crevice into the ridge.

The next thing then is to look for the date of the tyre. Now as I say, it is actually on the tyre!

Sometimes, they’re very clever, they put it on the inside edge of the tyre. But sometimes they leave it on the outside. And what you’ll see, I’ll put this picture here just as a close-up… you’ll see there are digits here, starting with dot (d-o-t), then a little code, and then after that there are four digits what is what you’ll see just here…

And what those numbers denote are the LAST two digits of the year (so it might say 18 if its 2018, 19 if its 2019)… and the FIRST two figures are the week of the year.

So if you have replaced a tyre on the 1st of January 2019, and it says maybe 43rd or 44th week of 2018, then you know the tyre is only about ten or twelve weeks old, and that’s okay.

But there are tyres, there are instances where tyres can be a couple of years old already before they’ve even been being fitted to a vehicle.

So that’s a really good thing to do is just check the age of the

Next thing is the wheel itself! Now, the chassis that this vehicles based on is the Fiat, which is exactly the same as a Peugeot Boxer and the Citroen Jumper, they’re all exactly the same sorts of chassis.

And what you want to look at is actually the wheel itself. These
aren’t alloys, these are using steel wheels because they have to support a lot of weight. And as you’ll see, this is quite pitted and rusted! So you’ve got to make sure that this doesn’t affect the integrity and strength of the wheel. So it’s well worth getting checked out by a wheel specialist and a tyre specialist.

Now when we saw ours, it had hubcaps on and looked fantastic!

Don’t be afraid to take the hubcaps off!

It’s really important to get to the real crux of the matter here! And, if you want to feel… (because a lot of people do put the tie wraps on the hubcaps to keep them on in just in case they were to
rattle off)… bring some with you. Show that you’re actually prepared to look at the vehicle fully! Bring some tie wraps with you so you know you’re gonna replace them so the owner isn’t gonna be left with a set he’s got to replace himself.

Take off the hubcap, have really good look around the screw nuts as well to see how corroded those are, and how correct the wheel is as a whole. And look for telltale signs… like it’s been resprayed, like this one. So this has been resprayed again. But as you can see, it’s been resprayed over the rust points… so they’re starting to bubble back through. Yeah?

What would be really good idea… and you’ll see around the rim is the most important part because that’s where the tyre seals against the rim. So really, when these are replaced what you want to be seeing as they get cleaned off or sanded down or sandblasted to a smooth finish to get the rust off and they then should be coated so that the seal is good after that.

One good idea if you have got wheels like this… if they are still good and strong, to stop this going any further is to get the wheels off, get the tyres removed by a tire specialist, and then get the rims sandblasted down to the metal finish to get rid of all the rust. And then give another good old prime and paint cover, to make sure it stays long without rusting again.

So thats tyres and wheels! The two key things there are… look at the date on the side wall of the tyre to find out when it was born and what the expiry date is… because if you’re going to pick up a mobilehome where you have to look to change these within a year just because they could perish the last thing you want is to be driving 70 miles an hour down the motorway carrying 3.5 tons… when one of these blows!

So it’s absolutely imperative, one of the most important things about your vehicle is going to be what what’s actually touching you to the road… and that’s the tyres.

So there you go, check the date on the sidewalls, check the treads to see how much life you’ve got in those tyres, and check the rims to make their sure they’re strong enough to have a good seal with that tyre.

Bye for now,
Miles and Tamra
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